Derek Delivers Late on as City Say Goodbye to Meadowbank

Nathan Atkinson

It had been a poor game, an ill-fitting end to Edinburgh City’s time at Meadowbank. But the veteran striker Derek Riordan brought the curtain down in fine style with a great strike in the last minute. A loose ball dropped to him on the edge of the box. He took a couple of touches, worked it onto his right foot and bent it brilliantly into the bottom corner.

There was an early half-chance for Edinburgh as Calum Antell’s long goal kick was flicked on by Ross Guthrie, The defender misjudged his headed clearance but Craig Beattie only succeeded in dragging the loose ball wide. Riordan then scuffed a shot just beyond the near post, as City applied the early pressure.

Riordan went a lot closer soon after. Some neat passing in the midfield allowed Josh Walker to shift the ball onto his left foot, and his clipped ball in was well controlled by the striker. He attempted an ambitious overhead kick and made a decent connection, the ball looping on to the roof of the net.

Twenty minutes in, Beattie’s fine long ball looked like it had set full-back Aaron Dunsmore free. He had to check back, but then he beat his marker for pace. His whipped cross was dangerous and headed behind. From the resulting corner, a quick one two between Walker and Guthrie saw the former send the ball in to the near post. Young Ryan Porteous was free, but could only glance his header just over, when he maybe should have hit the target.

Beattie managed to get a shot away just before the half hour mark, but was injured in a collision as he struck it. The luckless veteran limped off to be replaced by Mark McConnell. Straight afterwards a neat one-two between Guthrie and Dunsmore allowed the latter to crack in a shot with his left foot. It ended up nearer the corner flag than the goal though.

City were completely dominant, but their finishing had been wayward. Another negative for Edinburgh was the amount of injuries they were racking up. The home side were thankful there was little to play for in this game, as Ian McFarland saw his game curtailed after falling victim to a heavy challenge. Dean Cummings coming on to replace him.

City defender Shaun Harrison was the first to be cautioned, seeing yellow for a crude challenge on the edge of his box. Stirling looked to have gone close from the resulting set-piece but Edinburgh played a clever defensive line, catching all of the Stirling attackers offside. Given that Stirling retained a slim possibility of nicking a play-off place, it had been a lacklustre opening half from them.

Dougie Gair was making his last ever home appearance for Edinburgh City before retiring and he started the second half looking like a man who wanted to go out on a high. Cummings deflected cross came back to him and he tried a half volley from a tight angle. He caught it sweetly and the ball flashed just over the crossbar.

In truth, the second half struggled to catch fire, but McConnell almost woke the crowd up with a dipping volley from Guthrie’s knock down. He caught the ball well, but Stirling keeper Chris Smith was able to watch it drop just over his crossbar.

Walker swung a good corner into the middle with 10 minutes to go, and an Edinburgh head met the ball, but it lacked any kind of power, and popped straight into Smith’s hands. Soon after, there was a nasty collision on the edge of the City box as Porteous careered into Calvin Colquhoun. The defender was shown a yellow card, but the set piece was completed wasted. Blair Henderson drilling it straight into the wall.

Stirling finally created a great chance when Andrew Black clipped a lovely ball in to the back post. Ross Kavanagh snuck in and tried to plant a header into the bottom corner. Antell just managed to squeeze the ball down on to the post and out for a corner.

McConnell, who was quietly impressive after coming on in the first half, then latched onto Joe Mbu’s crossfield ball and unleashed a piledriver from 30 yards out. His shot took one bounce and flashed just wide of Smith’s post. Chances were coming at either end now though, and Antell nearly played his side into trouble when he sliced his clearance after skinning Henderson. Fortunately, he recovered well, plunging on Kavanagh’s weak strike from the loose ball.

Riordan’s fine strike won the game at the death, a fitting finale as City closed the doors to Meadowbank for the foreseeable future. They have a chance to finish in 6th if they beat Berwick next weekend, and go into the game having won three in a row. Meanwhile Stirling’s play off dream finally came to an end, the victory that they needed proving to be elusive.

Team Line-ups Edinburgh City Manager: Gary Jardine Edinburgh City: Antell, Dunsmore, Porteous, Harrison, McFarland (Cummings 34), Walker, Guthrie (Donaldson 80), Gair, Riordan, Beattie (McConnell 29), Mbu Subs Not Used: Caddow, Mafoko, Laird, Stobie Yellow Cards: Harrison, Porteous Attendance: 388

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